Most people are familiar with the roles of guide dogs (aka Seeing Eye dogs) and Hearing Dogs. However, there are many other types of assistance dogs out there, including medical alert dogs, psychiatric service dogs, therapy dogs, mobility assistance dogs and autism assistance dogs.

All types are essential to their handlers and are much more than clever pets. Therefore it is important that you do not approach an assistance dog who is working or in training, as to do so may distract the dog. This will, at best, be an inconvenience and, at worst, could put the handler in real danger.

Unfortunately at the present time, there are no charities registered with Assistance Dogs UK that train psychiatric service dogs. This is a real shame as these dogs can have a significant and positive impact on the lives of people with mental health problems, problems which are equally as debilitating as any physical impairment. For now, therapy dogs and untrained pets fill the gap. Read more here

One last thing- under the Equality Act 2010, it is against the law in the UK to refuse entry to a public place to someone with a registered Assistance Dog.

Hope you’ve learnt something new today! Remember to visit again tomorrow as there will be another guest post to look forward to.

Picture from The Guardian

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Tail docking in dogs has always been a controversial practice, and as of 2007, a banned one in the UK. However, there are exemptions to the ban and so the practice continues, fanning the flames of the debate.

The exemptions are for medical reasons, or for dogs that are likely to be ‘worked’, where evidence to prove these ambitions can be provided to a registered veterinary surgeon. The prooceedure must be carried out no later than 5 days of age by a vet, and with appropriate anaesthetic and sterilisation. For more information on the details go to DEFRA’s website

The objections to the ban often come from show dog owners who are used to having their dogs look a certain way, or working dog owners who are convinced that undocked tails will  become entangled in brambles and the like during work.

To the first group of people I wouldn’t bother arguing, as to put it bluntly, logical argument must elude them. To submit a dog in the early stages of life to unnecessary cosmetic mutilation is backwards. It impairs the dogs ability to communicate in later life and is a serious procedure in terms of possible complications.

To the second group, I always wondered why long haired dogs were selected to work- yet long locks aren’t trimmed to prevent ensnaring the legs. If it were such a problem as to demand such a ruthless resolve, I wonder why the long haired trait wasn’t selected against in breeds such as the springer spaniel?

Too little space to cover all sides of both arguments here, so if you have any thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.

Picture from http://www.coloribus.com

Animal Testing

15/12/11

In the UK it is illegal to test cosmetic products on animals. In the UK its is also ilegal to sell a synthetic cosmetic product if it has not been tested on animals. Just thought I’d point that out.